Blind collie and guide dog settle in

Victoria NichollsA blind collie and his own guide dog which were abandoned on a Waveney street have spent their first Christmas happily settled in at their new home - but many other pets haven't been so lucky.Victoria Nicholls

A blind collie and his own guide dog which were abandoned on a Waveney street have spent their first Christmas happily settled in at their new home - but many other pets haven't been so lucky.

Bonnie and Clyde captured the hearts of the public in July when they were taken in by a Norfolk rescue centre, prompting more than 500 offers from dog-lovers across the world wanting to take them in.

Clyde is blind and relies on Bonnie to act as his eyes by keeping his face in contact with her wherever they go. Now the pair have taken well to their new home in south Norfolk.

However, staff at the centre where they were cared for say they were inundated with calls from people who wanted to get rid of their dogs in the run-up to the festive season.


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Cherie Cootes, of Meadowgreen Dog Rescue Centre at Hales Green, near Loddon, said: 'We are absolutely chock-a-block, and the phone is still ringing. What's unusual is that this year we are getting a lot of puppies: we normally get a lot of older dogs.'

She blamed overbreeding, partic-ularly of Staffordshire bull terriers.

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'There are far too many people breeding dogs and they can't get rid of the puppies they've got, and that really needs to be looked into. There are a lot of people breeding in council properties. There's hardly a road in Norfolk where someone isn't selling puppies.'

Miss Cootes said some people called and threatened to have their pets put down if they could not be taken in.

'It shifts the onus on to us because if we say no we are their last chance. It's very, very unpleasant,' she said.

'We've even had vets asking if we can take dogs as people take them to the vets asking for them to be put to sleep because they don't want them. It's absolutely horrendous.'

She said the family-run centre was receiving an average of six calls a day from people wanting to give up their dogs; 14 calls were taken on one particular day. But she added that the 42 kennels were full and that the centre could not take in any more.

Miss Cootes said anyone buying a dog needed to commit to 12 to 14 years. 'Putting a dog down is not the answer for someone who wants to go away for Christmas,' she added.

t Details of dogs at Meadowgreen that need homes are available on 01508 548216; www dogrescue

norfolk.com

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